In mid-December of 2022, the University of Economics in Katowice was invited to present a pre-feasibility study of a Center for Economic Transition (CET). This concept has been elaborated mainly by BOLSTER Team as one of the strategic projects linking just transition and HEIs’ infrastructure development. The presentation was one of 10 invited speeches during the Katowice sub-regional workshops organized by the Department of Development and Transition of the Region (Marshall Office in Upper Silesia).
The CET project aims at providing new opportunities for business entities in transition regions of Upper Silesia, mainly through the delivery of new competence, training and education in the field of digital economy and green economy. Research labs (GIS, digital, VR/AI) will deliver new knowledge and allow for more collaborations with other partners from academia and business, both regionally and in international markets. The local context is of great significance since CET – located in Katowice – will engage in initiatives and campaigns in the neighboring quarters and provide knowledge on just transition to society. The other projects included city-promoted initiatives i.a. the biodiversity park, the center for entrepreneurship, photovoltaic farm, new tech quarter, interdisciplinary center for chemistry and others.
BOLSTER representatives from the University of Economics participated in a second event – – in late January of 2023 – a world cafe again organized by the Department of Development and Transition of Region (Marshall Office in Upper Silesia). This time, the discussions went directly towards the detailing of possible areas of engagement by academics while implementing the Just Transition Plan in Upper Silesia. The discussed solutions should allow to better serve the economy, environment and society by means of raising awareness of students, facilitating their competence in entrepreneurship and digital skills as well as boosting just transition-based research initiatives organized by HEIs.
“More interest for marginalized communities while programming and implementing just transition initiatives” – this was the voice of BOLSTER heard during the meetings. The participatory process is, in fact, a strength of the ongoing preparations being held for the last 3+ years. Even though the process is strongly deep-rooted in the region and there are many stakeholders, some of the communities are either unaware of the just transition and its consequences or – so far – have not been particularly heard. If they are not supported, it will affect the simple future of implementation of the JTP that we wish to expect, then.